“Connect With As Many People As You Can” – Interview With Pragya Bang, Alumna, IIM Indore Mumbai And Manager At ICICI Prudential
Hi Pragya, tell our readers about yourself, your educational and professional background.
I come from a traditional, Marwari-Maheshwari family of Jaipur, Rajasthan. Luckily, I was born in a family where my parents despite being highly qualified, always laid immense stress on all round development and hence I had an exceptionally pleasant childhood that I spent trying out things spanning creative writing, poetry to dancing, cooking and art and craft. While my father laid stress on academics, my mother always made sure she discussed with me – life, books, art, Shelley, Keats, PG Wodehouse and English literature classics like Waiting for the Godot (ever since I was very young) which widened my perspective beyond many years of my age then!
I did my schooling from Jaipur itself and secured a city rank-2 with 96.2% in class X. Then I went on to pursue engineering in Electronics & Communication from LNMIIT after securing a rank in extended merit list of IIT JEE. To this day, my most precious memory of graduation is my one month internship at ArcelorMittal, Kazakhstan where I was also the team co-ordinator for 34 participants.
Immediately after completing BTech. I moved on to pursue PGDM from IIM Indore’s Mumbai Campus where I did my majors in marketing. Four year stint at LNMIIT had been an extremely rigorous, bumpy ride that thoroughly prepared me to take academic challenges and time crisis in a relatively easy stride at IIM Indore Mumbai campus. So the typical ‘B-schoolish’ – deadline based culture, hefty project work and assignments was relatively a smooth sail to me since I had been through all of it and more already, all credits to LNMIIT’s strong foundation in terms of attitude building. I used this cushion to section out my time for pursuing extra-curricular activities like writing for blogs, doing live projects with HUL, JWT, Dow Chemicals etc. even during the busiest days of PGDM. Currently, I am working with ICICI Prudential as a part of their Business Leadership Programme for campus hires, 2015. Very recently, I have begun my first team management stint after completing one year of exposure to field-level business development.
What attributes are essential for a candidate to thrive in a career in MBA?
Very honestly, during campus placements, profile, salary and organization do not always match with a candidate’s dream job description. But then, one should be sagacious enough to embrace the best trade-off and work hard to succeed in whatever industry/company/role he (or she) gets into. Excellence is a legacy that must be built from your first job itself. There are only two things that define professional fortitude – dynamism and hard-work. The combination of these two is nothing but what is called smart work in popular parlance! Dynamism implies ability to adjust, adapt, enact – and doing all of this quicker than others! A lot of us have very little idea about the business processes of organizations we join right after PGDM, hence it is important that a candidate comes with a certain appetite for uncertainties. If one can utilise his/her 2 years of PGDM in building right attitude for dealing with the ‘unexpected’, there’s is absolutely nothing that can stop them from thriving in their career.
How is a typical day at work for you?
I work with ICICI Prudential and my role entails managing life insurance sales of ICICI Bank’s wealth management vertical. I begin my day with briefing of product features to employees of the bank and setting with them daily targets. While, during the day bank’s employees interact with the assigned clients, I prepare detailed insights for e.g. comparative analysis of ICICI Prudential’s products with close competitors and address service issues of existing business with us. On many occasions I also anchor role-play sessions to help employees with their pitch and communication skills, all of which is aimed at increasing per person output in the branch assigned to me. My role gives me a chance to work with the sales team, operations team and even with the senior management team on strategic planning, simultaneously!
What part of your experience in your B-school has been most helpful in your career?
I learned how to balance extra-curriculars, academics and real-time exposure to corporates during my days at IIM I Mumbai and this ability to handle multiple things while striking a balance helps me today greatly in my current role. Being in Mumbai turned out to be a great advantage since I got an opportunity to connect with several corporate houses and work on live projects, many of which were hugely appreciated.
What did you miss out on doing/trying at your B-school?
I didn’t quite network with people around me and, I realise the importance of it now. My sincere advice to all those reading this – connect with as many people as you can, this vividness of exposure will help you do better at work.
What advice would you like to give to the forthcoming batches of your B-school?
Let me try and keep it succinct, every B-school participant should pay heed to these 4 points:
A) Don’t get cloistered and give equal regard to academics, extra-curriculars, taking your time off, connecting with people and pursuing a hobby (yes! no matter how much be the time crunch!).
B) Focus on exploring a course, enjoy the subjects you take up without mulling over whether it will connect a dot in securing placement in your dream company. Live for the moment.
C) Learn how to get along with people belonging to different schools of thought, behaviours etc. B-school is your first exposure to the classic corporate paradox – working together yet competing! Learn how to keep the competition healthy, pick up learning from every individual you work with and instil in yourself more tolerance – it goes a long way in corporate life! Best wishes.
D) God listens. Always spare out a few minutes in the day and connect with God, this will keep you guarded and will help you work with composure. I regret not having done this during two years of PGDM, but now reverting back to this school-time habit has revived me inside-out.
Read more about IIM Indore Mumbai here